All Ph.D. and M.S. students are required to have a primary mentor(s) to guide their research proposal and career development. All primary mentors should be members of the Baylor Graduate Faculty (“GradFac”), or be eligible for GradFac membership. Criteria for GradFac membership include the following two items:
- Significant ongoing research funding (NIH-RO1 or equivalent) to support the trainee’s research
- A track record of productive mentoring
The mentor’s responsibilities are to:
- Provide the laboratory space and resources necessary for the research
- Provide a helpful, constructively critical and supportive learning environment
- Oversee the trainee’s progress through, at a minimum of bi-monthly, one-on-one meetings
- Facilitate the student’s submission of semi-annual progress reports
- Participate in semi-annual thesis advisory committee (TAC) meetings
- Attend the annual one-day program retreat with the student
Selecting a Mentor
Selection of a mentor is an important decision. Your mentor should be interested in furthering your career as a physician scientist, and be willing and able (time/effort) to support your research. The GSBS and NIH prefer mentors to be NIH funded to justify that the mentor is a successful investigator. The CSTP will consider mentors who have independent funding from other agencies, such as the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and other national awarding agencies such as the Department of Defense (DOD), American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Also essential is the GSBS requirement of a thesis advisory committee (TAC) with faculty members who will be at your disposal to discuss research ideas, get different points of view, and career guidance. Degree students must have a TAC of at least three CSTP faculty, including the mentor, and one non-CSTP member.